Suggestions for AW Demos?

  • 10 Replies
Suggestions for AW Demos?
« on: January 17, 2012, 10:41:35 PM »
I'm looking at running AW at a sort of local mini-con that runs every month. Obviously this requires a bit more prep than the 1st session of a running game. On the other hand, I want to preserve a lot of that collaborative feel to the world. If I can get the game down to four hours total, counting character creation, Hx and so forth then I could potentially run two sessions.

Given those requirements, what's the general consensus of demo prep and best practices among people who've done convention demos?



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Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2012, 11:00:45 PM »
Given those requirements, what's the general consensus of demo prep and best practices among people who've done convention demos?

All demos I've run at cons and "monthly gatherings" have started with the standard "1st session" that a regular campaign would start with and they've all gone amazingly well!  Heck, I've been incredibly sad after a con game to know I'd never be seeing those PCs again!   I'd highly recommend just going "by the book" and playing to find out what happens.

Four hours is a great amount of time to do it, including taking breaks to talk about the game and situations you're finding the players in, and helping people with the, often new concept of, collaborative nature of the game.

What "extra prep" do you think this kind of thing would require?

If the people you run your first event for are interested in continuing... well, you just got yourself a new monthly gaming group!  Good luck!
"If you get shot enough times, your body will actually build up immunity to bullets. The real trick lies in surviving the first dozen or so..."

Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2012, 12:19:09 AM »
Well, honestly, if "by the book" works, I'll just try that the first time around. Could be great fun. AW's nicely designed to provide its own bangs even if it doesn't necessarily have a single overarching plot.



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Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2012, 01:09:39 AM »
I've played in two AW one shots at conventions, both using the Hatchet City scenario that Vincent created. They we're a blast!

Also, this thread may be worth looking at.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2012, 03:16:24 AM »
Thanks for the links, both to the thread and by dropping the Hatchett City name for me to track down. I think I may do a single slot game this time, probably Hatchett City, because I have other commitments that day. Next month, though, I'll definitely look into a double-slot format with a break. First slot=first session, go get dinner and do prep, 2nd slot=session 2 with fronts and threats.



  • 1293
Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 08:34:03 AM »
Here's what I do in a 4-hour con slot.

1. I daydream up plenty of PC-independent imagery, including a solid sense of place and people.

2. I limit the character playbooks.

These days my con selection is: Brainer Chopper Driver Gunlugger Hocus Operator Savvyhead Skinner, plus Maestro D' and Faceless. If I'm feeling it, I include the Quarantine.

Because there's no hardholder, it's important up in step 1 to dream up a landscape and its society. I'm like "it's a little postapocalyptic trading city in the ruins of a city from before. It's got a boss and enforcers but they aren't meddlesome. It's where the barge people come down the river to trade with the raiders and slavers from the hills and the the very, very strange people who come in off the burn flats."

3. I do character creation and a "first session" in the first half of the timeslot. Around the middle of the timeslot I call an end to the first session. Everybody adjusts Hx and rehighlights stats. Then a 10 minute break, then back for a "second session" in the second half of the timeslot.

I don't write up threats and fronts during the break, but I look over my notes and think about them in those terms.

Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 05:38:09 PM »
Now that sounds like a plan. Fabulous Lost Vegas, here I come.

Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 06:34:40 PM »
I had the good fortune of playing in one of Vincent's games at Pax Prime.  He did just what he said above, although we did have a Hardholder, and our second session was essentially a day of holding court, and was so PvP driven that I don't think Fronts even came into it (not that it needed them - we had a blast making our own mess!)  The bittersweetness of a con game is always that you won't get to continue the story you started (although you can certainly import pieces to a home game).

Vincent, can you comment on why you include or remove certain playbooks?  I'm planning on running some games at OrcCon, and I was considering removing:

Angel:  Having healing readily available takes the pressure off.  If I do include this, I'll probably reduce the starting Stock.
Driver:  The increased mobility is a bit much for a starter game - I like to keep things on the home front for a bit.  I'd rather not deal with Vehicle rules every game.  On the other hand, it's pretty iconic for certain settings.
Hardholder:  Between detailing the holding and their starting move, pretty much plot in a bottle.  The danger is that they may overshadow the game.
Hoarder:  Trends toward playing defensively, and having lots of Barter or Crap available takes pressure off.  If I do include, I'll start with higher Hunger.
Quarantine:  Exploring causes of the apocalypse just doesn't feel urgent when you know you only have two sessions.  They're not conceptually right for every game either.

Wondering specifically why no Battlebabe, which I consider iconic and a good "stir the pot" playbook.

Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2012, 09:39:20 PM »
Hey Nomad,

From my experience, you always let the players make characters, its such a compelling part of this system. But yeah, restrict the number of playbooks, really just dropping some of the complex ones which may not normally become effective or most interesting until later in the campaign.

Have a strong setting in mind, and something immediately threatening to the characters. Don't let them wonder what to do in those first moments, there must be something threatening them, their community,their loved ones. Something un-ignorable. It can be overcome (or not) quickly, but get the characters struggling against something from the start, forcing them to choose sides, work together, risk their lives, take risks.

I've done a couple of con scenarios, would be happy to talk to you about them.

Scott (Yes, that Scott)

Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2012, 05:10:37 AM »
Thanks. The basic plan I'm going with per the above is a single four hour slot divided in two.
Session 1: Character generation, Hx, ironing stuff out. Then a big bang (possibly even with a character named The Big Bang), something that should be resolvable quick-ish but requires enough effort to introduce some of the setting. Characters interact, NPCs get named, details get fleshed out, problem gets solves in an hour or so.

Session 2: Standard AW session 2. Take the things presented in session 1, their natural evolution and the principle of non-boringness and whack the PCs upside the head with it.

Edit: For clarification, I already have an AW compatible setting with details and some characters called Fabulous Lost Vegas.

Re: Suggestions for AW Demos?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 05:43:02 PM »
Vincent, can you comment on why you include or remove certain playbooks?

I'd really love to hear about this too. The logic is not immediately apparent to the untrained eye!